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Dr. Delay

Clearing up sign mileage confusion

By LORRIE LYKINS
Published May 1, 2005


Confusion regarding highway signage often frustrates motorists. We have covered this topic before, but it is worth repeating since some signs on the highway seem to persist in confounding drivers rather than informing them.

A reader contacted me recently because she thinks some signage on Interstate 75 S must be incorrect. Here is what she said about a recent road trip:

"We were driving south on I-75 from Ocala to St. Pete Beach when we saw the first of four interstate highway signs for St. Petersburg and Tampa southbound, however they were listed incorrectly with the lesser mileage to St. Petersburg and the higher mileage to Tampa. Of course we knew this was incorrect, as Tampa is first in distance and St. Pete is farther away on that route. Apparently the signmaker and constructor on the highway did not pay attention to what they were installing. We have traveled this route for years - these were new signs and need to be corrected immediately. That last one we saw north of Tampa on I-75 near I-275 showed St. Petersburg 11 miles and Tampa 28 miles."

I asked Kris Carson of the Florida Department of Transportation about the signs in question.

"The sign mentioned is providing mileage to the junction of I-275 - which provides direct access to St. Petersburg - and should not be misconstrued as providing the distance to St. Petersburg. Once you exit onto I-275, standard St. Petersburg mileage signage is then found," Carson said.

* * *

The DOT's ongoing construction project on I-275 generates a lot of questions from motorists who regularly drive on the interstate. A reader wrote asking about the traffic signal at the off-ramp at 54th Avenue N, which has been inexplicably (and quite maddeningly for commuters) shortened. She wrote:

"The timing at this light has been shortened recently to allow only four to five cars to go through. If one is making a left turn (heading east on 54th Avenue N), you are uncertain if the traffic exiting 54th Avenue N and entering the on-ramp to I-275 will stop. Inevitably, people hesitate in the middle of the intersection to ensure the "oncoming' traffic is going to stop. (The traffic isn't really coming at you but is in the far right lane getting ready to drive onto the I-275 on-ramp, but from the opposite driver's view, this isn't clear)."

The reader said that the intersection is more frustrating than ever now due to the decrease in the length of the eastbound left turn light. She also noted that some impatient motorists are running the red light after sitting through a few red light-green light cycles. She closed with this plea: "Please tell me this is just a temporary situation while the construction in the area is finished up! If not, can we please get an explanation as to why this light has been so drastically shortened?"

Good news: John McShaffrey of the DOT assured the Doc that the situation is as hoped: temporary.

"It will be much improved after we complete the signal upgrades during the current construction project. Until the final signalization can be completed, we will review this intersection and adjust the timing accordingly," McShaffrey said.

* * *

Monday morning commuters heading north on U.S. 19 should be alert for another traffic routing challenge related to the NE Coachman Road-Sunset Point Road interchange project.

The rerouting begins today and should last for about three weeks. Northbound traffic on U.S. 19 between the CSX Railroad Bridge and Enterprise Road will be shifted off of U.S. 19 to the three-lane, one-way frontage road on the east side of U.S. 19. The traffic shift will begin at the CSX Railroad Bridge, through the intersection at NE Coachman Road, through the intersection at Sunset Point Road and up to the Freedom Ford dealership.

Motorists will be routed back to U.S. 19 just north of the Freedom Ford dealership and McCormick Drive. The DOT says one particular safety concern is that the business entrances off of the frontage road will be closer to traveling motorists on U.S. 19 and extreme caution is advised when entering and exiting the businesses.

Carson said that at the end of May, southbound traffic on the same route will be rerouted similarly, but this diversion will last approximately one year.

Please share your traffic concerns, comments and questions with Dr. Delay via e-mail at docdelay@yahoo.com

[Last modified April 30, 2005, 23:59:18]


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